SINGING MARINE, THE (1937) Oversized production photo by Manatt


[Los Angeles]: Warner Brothers, 1937]. Vintage original 11 x 14″ (28 x 35 cm.) black-and-white double weight glossy silver gelatin photo. Ink date stamp of Mar 4, 1937, and photographer Manatt ink stamp as well. Minor crease at top right corner, minor edge wear. Near fine.

Original paper blurb on verso says that director Ray Enright and crew are filming Dick Powell and Doris Weston on a beach set for Warner Brothers’ The Singing Marine.

During the early 1930s, Warner Brothers rang supreme in the genre of movie musicals: the songs were catchy, the scripts were pre-Code racy and the Busby Berkeley musical numbers were mind boggling. By 1937, MGM had come into its own with great performers and musicals with real stories. While Dick Powell enjoyed making the earlier productions, his interest was zilch by the time he made this lackluster film. He could not even feign interest in his scenes with first-timer Doris Weston and in an interview at the time told reporters that he totally zoned-out when she sang to him.

Powell and Weston are caught doing their best for director and crew in this rare bit of behind-the-scenes photography which shows the studio-built “beach at night” set, lights, overhead mic and camera track used to get this shot. Powell served out his Warner’s contract, got out in 1939 and went on to an entirely new film career as straight actor in comedies, dramas and noir. Weston did not catch on at all and called it a day by 1939.

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